Wrath: Aeon of Ruin review

by on February 27, 2024
Release Date

February 26, 2024


Just last month I reviewed Graven from developer Slipgate Ironworks and publishers 3D Realms and Fulqrum, a spiritual successor to 90s classic Hexen, and this month we have Wrath: Aeon of Ruin, a spiritual successor to about half a dozen 3D shooters from the 90s, also published by 3D Realms. The surprising thing isn’t that they’ve put out two such similar games in as many months, but that there’s really nothing particularly interesting about either of them, though Graven at least had a less common setting for the genre.

I can’t help but feel that the bubble is about to burst on retro-styled 3D boomer shooters. I’m all for retro games if that’s your thing, and certainly not against developers revisiting classic tropes and building new games with old tools to appease the fans. But when it’s done right it also adds something new to the genre – see Prodeus, and Warhammer 40K: Boltgun.

Wrath: Aeon of Ruin

In Wrath: Aeon of Ruin you play as Dude with Guns. You actually have a name, “Outlander”, but Wrath doesn’t seem to care much, so why should you? There is a story here if you care to follow along, but as in Graven it’s just framework. Whereas the last game had some quasi-RPG elements to go along with its fantasy setting, Wrath is much more straightforward. You have guns, there are enemies, the guns have bullets in them and the enemies don’t. Take care of that, would you?

Am I being dismissive? Maybe a little, but that’s only because Wrath does nothing, absolutely nothing, that Quake didn’t do almost 30 years ago. It’s a bit drab to look at, it’s ultra-violent, it’s fairly challenging, and that’s it. It does exactly what you expect it to do and if that’s your bag, more power to you. If you’re a big fan of this style and just want more of it, Wrath will deliver. The level design occasionally shows flashes of the kind of brilliance that keeps people interested in this subgenre, but perhaps it’s simply because I’ve seen it done so much elsewhere that it wasn’t quite enough to capture my imagination.

Wrath: Aeon of Ruin

Developers KillPixel have clearly aimed their game at a very specific demographic, but just as Slipgate Ironworks did with Graven, they’ve done very little to even attempt to modernise Wrath. You run a series of corridors and some slightly more open areas, hordes of demons and skeletons charge you, and you shoot them. There are some fun weapons to be found such as the Fang Launcher that spears baddies in a fairly satisfying way, but that’s really it. The scope of the game is impressive at a very basic level, but you may struggle to shake the feeling that you’ve done all this before.

The aesthetics are relentlessly, distractingly dark, and the movement is too fast and too floaty to convey any sense of weight. Mashing through hordes of enemies is as fun here as it is in any game of its kind, so it’s not without some merit, but when you’re struggling to differentiate between foreground and background assets as the enemies swarm you, it’s hard to stay invested. There are secrets to find if you’re so inclined, but I never truly felt compelled to explore this world or spend any longer than I had to in a given area.

Wrath: Aeon of Ruin

Perhaps the oddest thing about Wrath: Aeon of Ruin is how long it spent in early access to produce such a straightforward experience. I can’t even get excited about the atmosphere, since it never really builds up to the frantic heights of the games it tries to emulate, with forgettable music, standard sound effects, and the aforementioned bland environments.

All that said, this is clearly a game designed for those who seek out this kind of fast-paced catharsis, and if you approach with no expectations beyond a violent way to kill a few hours, then there is plenty of fun to be had.


Minute-to-minute gameplay can be fun
Some interesting level design


Bland aesthetic
Dull soundtrack
Does nothing new whatsoever

Editor Rating
Our Score


In Short

If you approach Wrath: Aeon of Ruin with no expectations beyond a violent way to kill a few hours, then there is fun to be had.